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Published: Saturday, 10/30/2004

Monroe County: Electorate will settle battle for prosecutor, array of other races

BY LARRY P. VELLEQUETTE
BLADE STAFF WRITER

MONROE - Voters across Monroe County have a huge selection of choices to make Election Day as they wade through a long ballot of contested federal, state, county, and township races.

The most heated county race this year has been the battle to succeed Prosecutor Mike Weipert, who is running unopposed for a Circuit Court judgeship.

The prosecutor's race has pitted Mr. Weipert's chief assistant, Democrat William Nichols, 44, of Temperance, against Republican John Luchansky, Jr., 55, of Petersburg. The next county prosecutor will be paid $104,000.

The race for drain commissioner, which pits Republican Jan Jay, 53, of Carleton, against Democrat Dan Stefanski, 55, of Monroe, also drew a great number of candidates and was hard-fought during the primary season. The drain commissioner will be paid $68,623 next year.

Mr. Jay's wife and fellow Republican, Deputy Charlotte Reaume, 50, of Carleton, is making her second challenge this year to her boss, two-term Democratic Sheriff Tilman Crutchfield, 58, of Monroe, in the only other countywide race. The sheriff will be paid $87,630 next year.

Five of nine seats on the Monroe County Board of Commissioners are contested on Tuesday, including attempts by four incumbents to retain their positions. All nine county commissioners will be paid at least $14,420 next year, with the eventual chairman and vice chairman of the board receiving extra stipends.

District 3 Democrat Thomas Mell, 65, of Carleton, and District 4 Democrat Floreine Mentel, 68, of Monroe, will defend their seats against Republican challengers Frank Beaumont, 73, of Newport, and Julie Selvidge, 41, of Newport, respectively.

District 8 Republican Pearl Albert-Green, 76, of Temperance, faces a challenge from Democrat and former Bedford Superintendent Jim Goebel, 62, of Temperance.

The District 7 race pits former Democrat, now-Republican N. Randy Ansel, 60, of LaSalle, against Democrat Paul Iacoangeli, 48, of Monroe. It will be the third straight election that the two men have faced each other, with each having won one of the contests.

The District 1 contest pits Republican Henry Lievens, 29, of Petersburg, against Democrat Sharon Jaworski, 63, of Dundee, for the right to succeed outgoing commission chairman V. Lehr Roe, a Republican who is running for treasurer in Dundee Township.

In Bedford Township, voters can replace as many as six of the seven members of the township board. Democrat Paul Lynch and Republican Walt Wilburn are fighting to succeed retiring township supervisor LaMar Frederick, while incumbent Democratic clerk Bob Schockman is seeking a second term against Republican Alec Byrne.

Meanwhile, one incumbent and seven others will vie for the board's four trustee seats. Incumbent Republican Dennis Steinman is joined on the GOP slate by Paul Francis, Rick Steiner, and Kevin Wexler, while Democrats offer Mick Dier, Colleen Kegerreis-Jan, Ken Kilman, and Larry O'Dell.

Dundee Township voters will not only decide the race between Mr. Roe and incumbent Democratic Treasurer Janet Goetz, they will make a choice between incumbent Democratic Supervisor Joanna Uhl and her independent opponent, Keith Pilbeam, and between incumbent Democratic Clerk Tira Lupu and her Republican opponent, Bob Clark, who is no longer actively seeking the position.

The township's trustee seats will be awarded to the top four finishers in the seven-way race that features incumbent Democrats Marilyn Larson and John Williams as well as Democrat Gary Lazette, along with Republicans Edward Craft and former Supervisor Rollo Juckette and independents Charles Justice and Gary Overbay.

Erie Township voters will choose between Republican Raymond Dusseau and Democrat Paul Mikels for the township supervisor's position being vacated by Dan Bonkoski, and between incumbent Gayle Burlen, who is running as an independent along with Sue Smith, and Democrat Amy Whipple for the clerk's position.

The two trustee seats are being contested by incumbent Denise Gordy and fellow Democrat Tad Cousino as well as independent candidates Martin LaPointe and Tim Rich.

Frenchtown Charter Township voters will face their first township ballot in 12 years without incumbent Supervisor Jim Spas, who was defeated in the August primary. Instead, Democrat James McDevitt will face Republican Marty Selvidge for the job.

Democrats Hedwig Bergmann Kaufman, Tom Kuehnlein, Jack Lindquist, Sr., and Kraig Yoas, and Republicans Duane Babcock, Ignazio Cuccia, and Thomas Fox, are seeking the township board's four trustee seats.

Ida Township voters will decide who makes up their township board for the next four years. Republican Greg Lane and Democrat Ronald Iott are competing to succeed retiring Supervisor Larry Metz, while Democrat Leonard Pennington and Republican Sherry Hilkens are battling to replace retiring Treasurer Denise Horner.

Republicans Elmer Bowman and E. Scott Desbrough and Democrat Randy Stanifer will compete for the two available trustee positions.

Monroe Charter Township's only remaining township board race is a six-way contest for township trustee.

Republican Brian Merkle and independent David Mushung face off against a full slate of Democrats - Penny Barton, Richard Janssens, Patricia Littrell, and Richard Wilson for the four trustee seats.

Summerfield Township voters will decide whether to return longtime Democratic township Supervisor Zelda Lucas to a four-year term or replace her with Republican challenger Kevin Iott. They also must pick among three newcomers, Democrat James Seegert and Republicans Mark Strahan and Dale Wagenknecht, for the board's two open trustee seats.

Whiteford Township's only contested race features some familiar faces, as longtime Republican township Clerk Leroy Bunge seeks a township trustee seat along with fellow Republican Douglas Cassada, incumbent Democrat Larraine Dressel, and independent Donald Sahloff.

Contact Larry P. Vellequette at:

lvellequette@theblade.com

or 419-724-6091.



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